As she walked a course around Cuesta Park last weekend, Mountain View resident Harriet Weiss' body was covered with stickers listing the names of family and friends who have been afflicted with cancer.
According to organizers, Weiss was among about 1,000 participants who took over the park from Saturday, May 30 to Sunday, May 31, walking, singing along with bands and barbequeing as part of the seventh annual Relay for Life event, held to raise money in the fight against cancer.
The participants solicit patrons and form teams, and one person per team is always walking the course to reflect "the disease that never sleeps." Money raised goes to the American Cancer Society for awareness, research and prevention projects. The organization helps set up similar fundraisers around the country, and local residents joined millions of other Americans to fight the disease.
For her part, Weiss helped organize the team "L'chaim," which means "to life" in Hebrew.
"Too many people I know have cancer," she said.
The Mountain View Relay for Life had 47 teams in total and raised $115,000 this year. Organizers say they are still accepting donations through August. Fundraising is way up from last year, when 30 teams came out and raised $80,000.
Although the event is for anyone interested in fighting cancer, it kicked off with a lap just for cancer survivors. Later in the evening on Saturday, participants held a candlelight vigil for family and friends they have lost to the disease.
Shortly after they finished the "survivors lap," a group of El Camino patients took a break in the shade, where they had set up a booth and tent. The group of women, all cancer survivors who were treated at El Camino, said they meet regularly for a caregivers and survivors support group.
Some of these El Camino patients formed the relay group "Chemo Brains," and were out in force to support the fundraiser.
"We are all patients," explained Chemo Brains member and cancer survivor Jane Gibson as she watched participants walk by on the Cuesta course.
Donations for the American Cancer Society will be accepted through Aug. 31. To make a donation, visit www.relayforlife.org/mountainviewca.